Optical Alternatives Fairfield, CT
You may know Dorothy Reynolds as an administrator at Opticians on Facebook. She also does it all at Optical Alternatives, from buying 2,000 frames (representing 100 brands) to keeping the books and marketing. The shop’s motto is “from prescription to perfection,” and Reynolds is a pro at making sure everything is just right about every pair of glasses she sells. “I love opticianry,” she says. “To me, it is not just selling glasses. I am a healthcare provider, and I take my duty to have you see the best you can — while looking amazing doing it — very seriously.” — INVISION STAFF
This article originally appeared in the March 2016 edition of INVISION.
➤ My favorite customers are the ones who are willing to step outside the box and consider something very different than what they originally wanted. Everyone seems to want boring brown, tortoise or black frames so that they do not clash. Having someone willing to try a bright purple or blue frame that looks amazing on them makes my day. Having them actually buy it is the best feeling ever.
➤ One of my greatest sales was to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She was 4 feet 8 inches tall, and she did not need corrective power, but she said that no one took her seriously because of her height and the fact that she looked about 12 years old. I fit her with a couple of frames that were bold (for the time). She came back a couple of weeks later for more pairs, telling me that the “whole world took her seriously now as the glasses had a Clark Kent/Superman effect.” I don’t think I will ever forget her telling me she felt 12 feet tall with the big, chunky frames.
➤ I love doing eyewear fashion shows. (The latest one, in February, was for Coco Song.) We usually offer an incentive to buy at the show, but having the whole collection of a line is absolutely my favorite thing. It makes it so much easier to match up a person with the frame that was made for them. A lot of our lines have massive amounts of frames and it would be impossible to have all the frames. It is fun to have the whole collection to play with.
I think wearing a PAL made me a better optician. If I met someone on their first day in optical sales, I’d tell them wear a PAL for an hour so that you can understand how it really works.
➤ I like to see the prescription first, so I can tailor what the patient wants to look like with their Rx. No one likes picking a large frame and then finding out the patient has a high Rx that will not look great. With our variety, it makes it easier to find the look the patient wants with the style that flatters them.
➤ We decided to open on Sundays because no one else in town is open. It has worked great. Saturdays are a big day here for children’s sports, so the parents love that they can watch their child play and still be able to purchase glasses on the weekend.
I own 12 pairs of glasses. My favorites include Lafont and l.a.Eyeworks for their styles and funkiness and Taylor Madison for comfort.
➤ Looking back on my early days in optical sales, I can’t believe I used to not believe people when they told me what their issues were with their glasses. Twenty-eight years later, I listen to what they say and believe them, no matter how outrageous it sounds.
➤ I’m most optimistic about the future of our business because baby boomers need glasses, and they have decided that they can wear anything they like. They are way more willing to think about color, shape and the need to proclaim their real personality with their eyewear.